The Panama Canal restrict the draft of ships if the drought persists

The Panama Canal administrator, Jorge Quijano, said today that it is possible that the passage of ships through the waterway as a result of reduced rainfall caused by the El Niño phenomenon is restricted.

The executive said in an interview on Channel 4 of the Panamanian television that users are informed of the possible restriction “if necessary, if there is no improvement in volumes that provide water to the lakes”, which cut 12 meters deep that currently supports the route, but asked not to create alarm.

According to the administrator of the waterway, through which about 14,000 ships pass annually between June and the first half occurred last July the driest period “in 102 years” in the country, which emptied the lake, Alajuela , Miraflores and Gatun, which supply water to the canal and 1.8 million inhabitants.

“The draft goes down six inches (15.24 centimeters) in six inches every two weeks and those projections are what we are seeing to see how (the drought) behaves these next 10 days and make a decision,” explained Quijano .

He recalled that a similar restriction on the Panama Canal, which has two lanes of locks that work with the system of communicating vessels by gravity to raise or lower boats 26 meters, depending on which direction to navigate, to spend between applied in 1998 Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Each lockage, records, consume at least 52 million liters of water and for this waterway 80 kilometers long passes 6% of world maritime trade.

The Panamanian Administration began in 2007 the expansion of the route with an investment of 5,250 million, which includes the construction of a third set of giant locks to allow passage of ships of up to 12,000 containers, three times larger than currently They pass the other two.

This will allow the Panama route, starting April 1, 2016, can travel annually to 600 million tons of cargo, twice the current figure.



Ernesto Chong de León, Ernesto Emilio Chong Coronado